Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Dental Benefits Amendment Rules 2012

Authoritative Version
  • - F2012L02347
  • No longer in force
Rules/Other as made
This instrument amends the Dental Benefits Rules 2009 to index the fee for preventative dental check; enable oral health therapists to provide services on behalf of dental providers; and make minor technical amendments to update references and improve clarity.
Administered by: Health
Registered 06 Dec 2012
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR05-Feb-2013
Tabled Senate05-Feb-2013
Date of repeal 02 Jan 2013
Repealed by Division 1 of Part 5A of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003

Explanatory Statement

 

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Health

 

Dental Benefits Act 2008

 

Dental Benefits Amendment Rules 2012

 

Subsection 60(1) of the Dental Benefits Act 2008 (the Act) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, make Dental Benefits Rules providing for matters required, or permitted by the Act to be provided, or necessary or convenient to be provided in order to carry out or give effect to the Act.

 

The Medicare Teen Dental Plan was introduced on 1 July 2008.  Under this program, eligible teenagers can receive dental benefits of up to $163.05 for an annual preventative dental check.  Teenagers 12 to 17 years of age who meet the means test set out in section 24 of the Act are eligible for the Medicare Teen Dental Plan.

 

The purpose of the Dental Benefits Amendment Rules 2012 (the Rules) is to amend the Dental Benefits Rules 2009 (the Principal Rules) to:

 

  • index the fee for the preventative dental check;
  • enable oral health therapists to provide services on behalf of dental providers; and
  • make minor technical amendments to update references and improve clarity.

 

The Rules index the benefit for the preventative dental check (item 88000) from $163.05 to $166.15, in line with the indexation typically applied from 1 November each year to Medicare benefits for general medical services (item 6 of the Rules). 

 

Oral health therapists have also been added to the list of persons eligible to render services on behalf of dental providers, which is set out in rule 7 of the Principal Rules (item 3 of the Rules). The addition of oral health therapists brings the legislation in line with current registration practices in Australia, which includes oral health therapists as a division of dental practitioners.

 

The Rules make a number of minor technical amendments to the Principal Rules to update references following the integration of Medicare Australia into the Department of Human Services.  From 1 July 2011 Medicare Australia ceased to exist as a separate statutory agency and its functions were taken over by the Department of Human Services.    The position of ‘CEO of Medicare Australia’ was abolished, replaced by the new ‘Chief Executive Medicare’.  To align with these changes, item  4 of the Rules amends rules 10 and 11 in the Principal Rules to replace references to the ‘Medicare Australia CEO’ with references to the ‘Chief Executive Medicare’.  Item 5 amends rules 10 and 11 of the Principal Rules to replace references to ‘Medicare Australia’ with references to ‘the Department of Human Services’. 

 

A further minor drafting change is made to rule 6 of the Principal Rules, which sets out the classes of persons who are ‘dental providers’.  The classes are currently described as dentists and dental specialists who are ‘registered with Medicare Australia’.  This has been amended to dentists and dental specialists who ‘have been allocated a provider number by the Chief Executive Medicare’.  This is a technical change only and has no effect on provider eligibility.

 

These Rules commence on 1 January 2013.

 

These Rules are a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

 

Consultation

The Dental Hygienists’ Association of Australia provided advice that oral health therapists should be included as persons eligible to render services on behalf of dental providers.  Consultation was not necessary in respect to the other aspects of these Rules as these changes are machinery in nature and do not substantially alter existing arrangements. 

 


Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Dental Benefits Amendment Rules 2012

 

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

 

Overview of the Legislative Instrument

The purpose of the Dental Benefits Amendment Rules 2012 (the Rules) is to amend the Dental Benefits Rules 2009 (the Principal Rules) to index the benefit for the preventative dental check available under the Medicare Teen Dental Plan from $163.05 to $166.15, in line with the indexation typically applied from 1 November each year to Medicare benefits for general medical services. 

Oral health therapists have also been added to the list of persons eligible to render services on behalf of dental providers. The addition of oral health therapists brings the legislation in line with current registration practices in Australia, which includes oral health therapists as a division of dental practitioners.

The Rules also make a number of minor technical amendments to the Principal Rules to update references following the integration of Medicare Australia into the Department of Human Services.  From 1 July 2011 Medicare Australia ceased to exist as a separate statutory agency and its functions were taken over by the Department of Human Services.  References to the ‘CEO of Medicare Australia’ have been replaced with references to the ‘Chief Executive Medicare’ and references to ‘Medicare Australia’ have been replaced with references to ‘the Department of Human Services’.

Human rights implications

The Rules engage the right to health and the right to social security.  Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) defines the right to health as “the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”  Article 9 of the ICESCR contains the right to social security, including social insurance.

The Rules promote the rights to health and social security by increasing access to publicly subsidised dental services for teenagers.  They do this by widening the scope of dental health professionals able to provide rebateable services on behalf of dentists and dental specialists to include oral health therapists.  The Rules also increase the benefit for the preventative dental check service. 

The amendments made by the Rules to update references to ‘Medicare Australia’ and the ‘CEO of Medicare Australia’ do not engage any of the rights or freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

Conclusion

The Rules are compatible with the relevant human rights and freedoms.

 

 

TANYA PLIBERSEK

MINISTER FOR HEALTH